Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Meal Planning is for Everyone!

So I'm trying to be more organized. I try to do that often. It never really sticks, but I just found something that makes a huge difference in my day. Planning our meals out ahead of time really works. I thought that meal planning was just for people with big families, but I was wrong. Meal planning is for Everyone!

I plan on keeping our meals generally the same from week to week, just changing the occasional dinner. Lunch is often dinner from the night before. This eliminates all the thinking involved with cooking/preparing and eating meals, which is most of the work. Before, I would think about the meal generally around the time I got hungry. Now I can check the menu around 10am for lunch and see if there is something that I need to prepare before I get to work (in the basement) or whether I can make it at 11:30am.

Here is our menu (first draft-winter version):

Breakfast: make granola (if I'm on the ball, making it the night before is a good idea)
Lunch: Soup and bread
Dinner: Beans and tomatoes and hot peppers with tortilla chips

Breakfast: hot chunky applesauce (make it the night before while I'm working so I can just heat it up in the morning and make enough for oatmeal Tuesday)
Lunch: roasted potatoes and carrots with rosemary and garlic
Dinner: broccoli and pasta with homemade bread

Breakfast: oatmeal (we like it with applesauce and cinnamon and raisins)
Lunch: carrot soup and bread
Dinner: taco night

Breakfast: granola (leftover from Sunday)
Lunch: leftover carrot soup and bread
Dinner: Spinach curry with fresh made pita bread

Breakfast: French Toast with maple syrup and raisins on top with fresh squeezed OJ
Lunch: Fruit Smoothie
Dinner: Mashed Potatoes and a green vegetable

Breakfast: fresh OJ and toast or bananas
Lunch: white beans and roasted garlic soup
Dinner: Pizza (homemade of course)

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: canned chili cooked in the fire outside with biscuits (made at breakfast time) -when I get a cast iron dutch oven, I'll make chili from scratch to cook over the fire.
Dinner: salad and leftovers

This is what I've got so far. Breakfasts will probably be supplemented with Orange Juice or Fruit Smoothies. Fruit or toast are for snacks. This is actually my first week doing this, but I am totally sold on it. I'm trying to keep our food spending down to $25 a week (or less). We'll see how that goes. I think the planning should help in that respect as well. I tried to plan cheap meals. Once it starts warming up, we'll be eating much more raw foods. I figure our meals will rotate with the seasons (like when it's strawberry season, we'll have strawberries for breakfast lunch and dinner :).

Do you plan your meals? My sister-in-law has all her recipes on her computer and uses that to plan her shopping. Do you have any tips for a novice?

1 comment:

  1. Thumbs up for meal planning. It helped me a lot with keeping the cost down but $25 per week is amazing! I shoot for $100 ~$150 for 2 adults + 2 kids...but I buy everything from Whole Foods so it gets a little expensive sometimes.
    I like to look there for inspiration:
    She has very tasty cheap vegetarian recipes. If you have a freezer you could cook larger portions form time to time a freeze leftovers for the following week, it would save you 1 day of cooking.

    Also, when I plan my meals I plan only for 5 or 6 days and generally we have enough leftover to make it last 7 days.

    I don't have all of my recipes on the computer like you sil but this is what I do:
    I write the meal plan for the week on my notebook (a blackboard in the kitchen would be neat too). Then I pull out all the recipes for the week. I prepare my grocery list in 5 columns: Fruits/veggies, meat/fish, other refrigerated of frozen goods, canned or dry stuff, non food items. I go through all the recipes for the week and list the ingredients in the appropriate column, unless I'm certain I still have the ingredient in the pantry.

    I want to try your Spinach curry with fresh made pita bread and the white beans and roasted garlic soup.

    I also prefer the taste of homemade chili but cooking the can in the fire outside seems like fun.